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Examine the presentation of Othello in Act One

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Examine the presentation of Othello in Act One Throughout Act 1, the way in which Othello is presented varies according to the person talking about Othello and the various situations that each person is in. Some of these opinions are honest, while others are said for manipulative reasons. Scene 1 begins with a conversation between Iago and Roderigo, where Iago is reassuring Roderigo that he knows nothing of Desdemona and Othello's marriage. In this scene we discover that both Roderigo and Iago dislike Othello because they clearly talk of their hate for him and they refer to him using many unkind terms, especially those referring to his race, e.g. 'the old black ram', 'thick-lips', 'a barbary horse'. We must bear in mind at this point that the audience would too have been prejudiced against this man already for his race, as England was indeed a racist country in the Elizabethan audience. The fact that Othello is black would have already given the audience a negative view of him. ...read more.


We only see his opinion of Othello when he realises that he has married Desdemona. It is then, from his rage and feelings of betrayal, that we know he does not see Othello as fit to marry his daughter. When he discovers she is massing he says "It is too true an evil: gone she is". She clearly shows us his anger. In the next scene, we see Othello for the first time talking to Iago. He presents himself as a bold, honest and modest character. He says not an unkind word about anyone, so we see that he is not at all like Iago and Roderigo have described. Also, we see Iago talking away to Othello in a friendly way, even though he has said how much he hates him behind his back. When the audience see how two-faced Iago is, they realise that he is not a totally honest and moralistic character, so he becomes an unreliable source of fair and honest opinions. Another aspect that we notice about Othello is the way he does not crack under pressure. ...read more.


He tells an honest account of how Desdemona began to love him for his personality, not because he had bewitched her. To protest his innocence he says to the Senate "Rude am I in my speech, And little bless'd with the soft phrase of peace", to show that he has little charm which he could have bewitched her with. There are no extravagant claims or complications in his story so it seems unlikely that it would be untrue. We begin to see him as a truthful, modest man who is treated unfairly for his race. The speech in this scene is a chance for the audience to judge his character fairly. So first we see Othello being presented as a disliked figure, but this is by two people with not a great amount of authority. We then meet Othello and he presents himself as a generally pleasant person. We realise nobody sees him as a fit husband to Desdemona, but as a respected military leader. Despite Brabantio, Roderigo and Iago's efforts, Othello is presented as an innocent, honest man who is an unfortunate victim of prejudice. Jen Stringer 10C ...read more.

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